In response to allegations of “assault” made by government officials concerning the president’s conduct, the Spanish Football Federation has hastily organized a crucial meeting.
The president, Luis Rubiales, finds himself under increased scrutiny as he prepares to attend the assembly on Friday, where he is expected to provide an account of the events following Spain’s triumphant victory over England.
The incident in question involved Rubiales planting a kiss on the lips of Jennifer Hermoso, the 33-year-old player, as she received her well-earned medal.
He on Monday apologised for the kiss, saying it was “without bad faith at a time of maximum effusiveness”.
Luis Rubiales, already embroiled in a storm of controversy, now faces further backlash due to live footage shared on player Salma Paralluelo’s Instagram account. The video, captured on the night of Spain’s triumphant win, shows the FA president entering the team’s changing room.
Within the footage, Rubiales is observed addressing the jubilant players while making a pledge to marry Jennifer Hermoso during an upcoming team excursion to Ibiza, as reported by sources. This latest revelation adds a new layer of complexity to the ongoing discussions surrounding Rubiales’ behavior.
In the wake of Spain’s victorious moment, scrutiny intensifies as Luis Rubiales faces criticism for a celebratory gesture. As witnessed by onlookers, Rubiales made a victory gesture by grabbing his crotch in the presence of 16-year-old Princess Infanta Sofía and Queen Letizia of Spain. This act has drawn significant attention, with one fan denouncing it as “deplorable.”
Taking proactive measures, Rubiales spent a significant portion of Tuesday rallying support from various regional federations.
These efforts are in preparation for the impending meeting scheduled for Friday, as reported by an English-language Spanish football news outlet. Despite the growing scrutiny, it is believed that Rubiales enjoys substantial backing, making it improbable that the 30 percent opposition required to trigger a vote of no confidence will be reached.
Initial outrage continues to reverberate as Luis Rubiales faces heightened criticism for his dismissive response to those who raised concerns about the post-match kiss incident. Initially, Rubiales referred to critics as “idiots,” downplaying the incident as an “insignificant show of affection” between two individuals.
Jennifer Hermoso, renowned as Spain’s highest all-time scorer, shared her disapproval of the kiss during an Instagram live session after the match. However, a subsequent statement issued by the Spanish FA on her behalf portrayed the kiss as a “completely spontaneous mutual gesture” borne out of the immense elation that comes with winning a World Cup.
Adding to the fray, Acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez responded on Tuesday to Rubiales’ apology, deeming it inadequate in addressing the situation.
“What we saw is unacceptable,” Mr Sánchez said. “And the apologies offered by Mr Rubiales are not sufficient, I would call them inappropriate, so he must continue taking further steps to clarify what we all saw.”
He emphasized that the Spanish government does not possess the authority to appoint or remove the president of the federation, underlining the autonomy of the sports organization in this regard.
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In the wake of the unsolicited kiss incident involving FA president Luis Rubiales and player Jennifer Hermoso, the country’s equality minister has categorized the act as “sexual assault.”
Given the recent enactment of a new sexual violence law, this unexpected kiss, during which Rubiales firmly held Hermoso’s face before kissing her on the mouth, might possibly qualify as a prosecutable offense.
In response, the federation has announced the initiation of an internal investigation into the incidents that transpired during the awards ceremony of the Women’s World Cup.
Spain’s players union, formerly led by Rubiales, has issued a call for action. They urge Spain’s Higher Council for Sports to take measures against Rubiales unless he voluntarily steps down. The union cites a relevant sports law that sanctions behaviors that “damage the dignity” of an individual or create an “atmosphere of intimidation” based on unwanted actions related to gender or race. As reactions and assessments unfold, the situation remains a subject of intense scrutiny and discourse.
“The incident regarding Jenni Hermoso is especially grave since she finds herself in a situation of vulnerability before a person in a position of power,” the union said. “A once-in-a-lifetime celebration for the Spanish players has been overshadowed by the improper behavior of the federation president.”
The Spanish sports council has confirmed the reception of a formal complaint against Luis Rubiales, submitted by Miguel Galan, the president of Spain’s national school for soccer coaches. This development signals a significant step in addressing the ongoing controversy surrounding Rubiales’ conduct.
Additionally, Sumar, a left-wing political party led by Ms. Diaz, has also announced its involvement in the matter by filing an official complaint. As stakeholders from various quarters express their concerns, the pressure continues to mount on Rubiales amidst growing calls for accountability.